On this day in music history: September 14, 19…

On this day in music history: September 14, 1981 – “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”, the twelfth studio album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Diana Ross, it is recorded at The Power Station in New York City from May – July 1981. Riding high on the huge success of the album “diana”, it is cresting on the charts just as the R&B and pop superstar is about to become a free agent. The last album on her contract with Motown Records, label founder Berry Gordy, Jr. believes that Diana will renew her contract with the label that has been her home for over twenty years. However, when other major record labels come calling, Ross begins to field offers from the competition. She ultimately decides to sign a highly lucrative contract with RCA Records worth over $20 million dollars, at the time one of the largest record deals offered to a solo artist. Also guaranteeing her full creative control, that seals the deal, with Ross also signing a separate international contract with Capitol/EMI. Initially planning to reunite with Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic, the producers decline the offer to work with Diana again, busy working on various projects including an album for themselves, Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry and one for pop vocal legend Johnny Mathis. With RCA wanting to release her first album for them by the Fall of 1981, Ross decides to produce the project herself. Enlisting the assistance of musicians Rob Mounsey and Ray Chew (keyboards), and reaching out to various music industry friends for songs, work gets underway in the Spring. Ross is supported in the studio by a group of top session players including Leon Pendarvis, Ed Walsh (keyboards), Eric Gale, Bob Kulick, Jeff Mironov (guitars), Neil Jason, Francisco Centeno (bass), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Michael Brecker, George Young (saxophones) and Yogi Horton (drums). Delivering the album right on schedule, it’s led by a vibrant and infectious remake of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers’ doo wop classic “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” (#6 R&B, #7 Pop, #2 AC). The song is supported by a music video filmed on Fremont Street (“The Old Vegas Strip”) in Las Vegas. It spins off two more singles including “Mirror, Mirror” (#2 R&B, #8 Pop) (co-written by Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky) and “Work That Body” (#34 R&B, #44 Pop) (written by Ross, Chew and Paul Jabara). A solid commercial success, “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” kicks off Diana Ross’ post-Motown era with a bang. Originally released on CD in 1983, it is remastered and reissued by Funky Town Grooves Records in 2014, with six additional bonus tracks. “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.